Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2019

History of Art with Material Studies BA

This degree provides a unique focus on works of art as physical objects. You will gain comprehensive skills in art history, together with a thorough understanding of artists' techniques and questions of materiality and materialisation, both at the time a work of art was made, and subsequently as it transitions and ages.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2019
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2019
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

No specific subjects, though essay-based subjects are an advantage.
(contextual offer)
ABB (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
No specific subjects, though essay-based subjects are an advantage.
English Language at grade B or 6, plus Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students a foreign language at grade B or 6 is required.

IB Diploma

A score of 18 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.
(contextual offer)
34 (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
A score of 16 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.

UK applicants qualifications

Equivalent qualification

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) or BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with 18 credits awarded with distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units with Merit.

D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects.

AAA at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher).

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • High-quality research undertaken by staff, which is reflected in our research excellence profile, informs the content of our undergraduate degrees, keeping our teaching at the forefront of the discipline.

  • The department includes well-known specialists on all periods from the medieval onwards. We have particular strengths in the study of contemporary art, material science, and conservation theory and practice.

  • The department houses the Material Studies Laboratory, consisting of two spaces, one dedicated to teaching and handling materials and artefacts, with the second focusing on the instrumental analysis of heritage materials.

  • UCL's central location in London is within walking distance of the British Museum and British Library and provides easy access to the National Gallery, the Tate galleries and the Victoria and Albert Museum.


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Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The programme begins with introductory modules in History of Art and its Objects and foundation modules in history of art, together with a thematic seminar. You will also take modules in Art and Science and Media and Technologies.

Modules in the second year delve deeper into the technical aspects of art. These may include Theory and History of Conservation; and Application and Development of Textiles in Works of Art and Artefacts.

In the final year, all students write a research project dissertation of approximately 10,000 words. This can involve an analysis of artistic practice, technology or materials, combined with art historical research. The Art/Work/Space module enables you to gain practical work experience outside the department while writing an independent research project reflecting critically on this experience.

You may also take modules from outside History of Art in departments such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Architecture, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, or History, with the agreement of the department concerned and your course tutors.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

  • History of Art and its Objects
  • History of European Art (1): Classical to Early Renaissance
  • History of European Art (2): High Renaissance to the Present Day
  • Media and Technologies
  • Art and Science

Students must also take a in a modern foreign language, preferably in the first year.

Optional modules

You will select one of the following:

  • Thematic Seminar (1): Art and Architecture before 1800
  • Thematic Seminar (2): Art and Architecture after 1800

Core or compulsory module(s)

  • Advanced Lecture Course I: Early Modern Bodies
  • Advanced Lecture Course II: Histories of Photography

(The content of the Advanced Lecture modules changes regularly. These are the offerings for 2017/18.)

Optional modules

You will select six from a wide range of optional modules, including at least two of the following:

  • Methodologies of Art History
  • Methodologies of Making
  • History of the Category 'Art'

and at least two options with a specific focus on materials and technologies, from a list which may include:

  • Theory and History of Conservation
  • Methods and Materials
  • Development and Application of Textiles in Works of Art and Artefacts

(Options vary from year to year. These are the offerings for 2017/18.)

Further optional modules can be selected from within History of Art.

Core or compulsory module(s)


Optional modules

You will select 90 credits from a wide range of options including Art/Work/Space and at least one Special Subject. Further options can be selected from within History of Art, and from fields such as anthropology, archaeology, history or philosophy. There is also the option to continue with a language (non-beginners only).

Your learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars, and may include visits to monuments, film archives and sessions in the Material Studies Laboratory. Seminars may relate to a lecture series and involve travel within the UK or abroad. On a more frequent basis, first-year thematic seminars take place at London's many art collections and exhibitions.


Coursework, essays, oral participation and written examinations will all be used as means of formal assessment of your work.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: History of Art with Material Studies BA.


You will gain the skills necessary to carry out historical and technical projects, communicate effectively, interpret material analysis, and to pursue academic research or take up responsible employment in a variety of contexts.

This BA provides an excellent basis for any career dealing at first hand with works of art, such as museum and gallery professionals, art dealers, valuers and auctioneers. It is also a good foundation for those wishing to take up further training in any specialism within art conservation.

Any profession dealing with art would benefit from the expertise gained from this degree.


First destinations of recent graduates (2013-2015) of this programme include:

Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2014-2016 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2018/19 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2018/19 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2018/19)
Overseas students
£25,960 (2018/19)

Overseas fees for the 2019/20 academic year are expected to be available in July 2018. Undergraduate UK/EU fees are capped by the UK Government and are expected to be available in October 2018. Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The scholarships listed below are for 2017 entry. Funding opportunities for students applying for 2018 entry will be published when they are available.

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

We welcome applicants who have a serious interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of art history. Entry is highly competitive, but you will not be required to have studied history of art before. However, advanced study in an essay-based subject such as history or English, as well as a language, would be an advantage.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2019


Applicants will be assessed not only on academic achievement, but on evidence of intellectual curiosity, and of critical appreciation of visual and material culture.

If we are considering making you an offer you will be asked to complete a short written exercise, and then invited to the department on an open day to meet the teaching staff and learn more about the degree programme.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.